To coincide with the release of our latest t-shirt ‘Mighty Mouse’ – We talk to its creator Phil Smith (AKA Biff).
Tell us about the design for mighty humble?
I think a t-shirt is its own canvas and designs need to work with that. I wanted to create a design that literally sat within the t-shirt whilst incorporating my own style into it. Mighty Humble gave me the freedom to let me do as I wish. In return I wanted to give them something symbolic, so I used a classic character idea as a basis. I think a Illustrator’s potential is let loose when they’re given an open brief. Very enjoyable!
How did you produce the design?
I mostly draw by hand, scan it in, then colour digitally. However, I try to keep the process as natural as I can. I work very fast and sometimes and I find too much technology can interfere, slow things down and kill my flow a bit. I’m also a strong believer in using very basic tools to make artwork. You don’t need to spend days vectoring every illustration to make it “perfect”.
Give me three of your creative heroes?
Michael Perry – His work is very honest and innocent. I think his brain works like a child’s, he doesn’t really think too much about what he does, he just lets it happen.
I’m big on Hattie Stewart right now. I think she’s leading the way for commercial illustration, it’s just unbelievably fun and experimental.
Horsebites is another big one for me. I started putting my work up on myspace (around 5 years ago) just to get some feedback. He left a comment on one of my photos and I went pretty crazy. It motivated me enough to blast out another 30 drawings that night.
What’s your favorite font and why?
I don’t really have a fave, I tend to draw them all myself. At the moment I’m really into old western style type, it’s underrated.
I think it’s fair to say you’re a ‘bit obsessed’ with T-shirt and designing T-shirts. What are some of your favorite brands right now?
I’m quite a huge fan and extremely fussy with T-shirt designs. Suffoca are pretty inspirational. I like how personal they get with the customer, it’s nice to know where your shirts come from and what’s gone into making them.
If you could pick the next person to design a t-shirt for us. Who would it be?
What’s your stereo at the moment?
The Bronx new album is insane. Sigur Ros is good to draw to. Passion Pit, Gnarwolves, Alien Ant Farm, Bon Iver, From Indian Lakes, The Naked and Famous… the list goes on.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently drawing and uploading new work to the web everyday. I want to build a reputation. Oh, potentially starting up a pop-up gallery too, which should be fun!